Lifestyle

Filming 'Married at First Sight' sounds hellish, according to these contestants

“You’re treated like monkeys.”

By Jessica Chandra
Married at First Sight 2017

Most of us are not on our ~best behaviour~ when we’ve had a few drinks. But most of us also don’t have cameras shoved in our faces, recording everything we do and say, like the people on Married at First Sight.

Ahead of the 2017 series finale, two of this year’s contestants have made some bold claims about the poor treatment of the cast for the sake of drama, which led to high ratings.

Susan Rawlings, who was matched with Sean Hollands and has been one of the fan favourites, and Lauren Bran, the show’s runaway bride, who smoke-bombed the morning after her wedding with Andrew “Jonesy” Jones, have spoken out against the show’s producers and the way everything’s been edited. Basically, the show was not what they signed up for.

The two women said some really juicy things – we’ll break them down here.

On all the alcohol they were given: “The filming — because it goes for so long — you’re tired, you’re drunk, you’re not yourself, they get you at your worst,” Lauren told news.com.au. “I was boozy, they booze you up. They encourage it. They’re just free-pouring the whole time. At one stage I had someone put a couple of drinks in front of me. And I said, ‘Nah, nah, I’m good, I’m good,’ and they say, ‘Nah, have more to drink’.” She also said on the first hens night, “There were jugs of water — they swapped it for vodka and Red Bull.” Obviously, this led to alcohol-fuelled moments, like when Lauren called Jonesy a “cocky little prick” at the reunion dinner party.

On general filming conditions: The contestants filmed the show in the middle of Australian summer, and those dinner parties were shot in a warehouse that didn’t have air-conditioning, but did have a fireplace (WTF?) for “ambience,” Susan revealed to Perth Now. She elaborated to news.com.au, “We’d wait on sometimes plastic chairs in this hot warehouse with a metal roof. No air-conditioning. And everyone’s trying to scramble near a window — if you don’t get a window, you’ve got no luck because you just have no air.” Also, the dinner parties would often film until four in the morning.

On the lack of toilet breaks: Susan explained to Perth Now that the dinner parties and commitment ceremonies would often film for up to eight hours — and that the contestants weren’t even allowed toilet breaks! “A producer would come out and yell at us saying we can’t go to the toilet,” she said. “He said we aren’t school children and that we can hold it. Sometimes I was so angry that I felt like my bladder was going to burst.”

On being fed lines: Susan said she’d often meet with producers in her hotel room who were carrying scripts. “They read out sentences to me, which I then had to repeat back to the camera.”

Looks like Jonesy needs a top-up.
Looks like Jonesy needs a top-up.

On the editing: Everyone was shook when it seemed like Susan had dumped sweet Sean during their vow renewal ceremony, but Susan says this was not the case when they actually filmed it. “The editing team completely twisted it all around so that it looks like Sean went first and said that he wants to stay with me and ride off into the sunset together,” she told Perth Now. In reality, their breakup was mutual, but audiences didn’t see that because the producers conveniently edited out a line where Sean said he also didn’t want to continue with the relationship.

On the role of the relationship experts: Many people — TV critics and viewers on Twitter — have questioned the role of the three relationship experts, who’ve watched everything unfold in a separate room but have failed to intervene when things escalated. According to Susan, the experts — Melanie Schilling, a psychologist; Dr. Trisha Stratford, a clinical neuropsychotherapist; and John Aiken, a clinical psychologist — “are just pawns in a game.” She revealed the producers fed lines to the psychologists through ear pieces: “It’s absolutely fake and excruciating to live through.”

Phew! This is only from two of the contestants — and Lauren was only on two episodes!

Apparently the ‘success’ of this year’s season has seen a jump in applicants for the next one. They may want to read this before getting involved…

The finale of Married at First Sight airs tonight.